Stallworth Suspended Without Pay for a Season

Eli Manning's six-year, $97.5 million extension with the Giants isn't official.
Eli Manning's six-year, $97.5 million extension with the Giants isn't official. (By Mike Groll -- Associated Press)
Friday, August 14, 2009

The NFL suspended Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte' Stallworth without pay for the entire 2009 season, the league announced.

The league announced Stallworth is being suspended under both its substance abuse and personal conduct policies.

Stallworth served 24 days of a 30-day prison sentence after pleading guilty to DUI manslaughter. He was involved in an accident in March in Miami Beach in which his vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian, 59-year-old crane operator Mario Reyes.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell informed Stallworth of the decision in a letter Thursday, the league announced.

"As you recognized both at and following the hearing, guilt or innocence as a matter of criminal law is not the same as a violation of NFL policies," Goodell wrote in the letter to Stallworth, according to the league. "Here, longstanding league policies make clear that discipline is warranted 'if a player is convicted of or admits to a violation of the law . . . relating to the use of alcohol.'

"The degree of discipline may take into account 'aggravating circumstances, including but not limited to felonious conduct or felonious injury or death of third parties . . .' All of those factors are present here. There is no question that your actions had tragic consequences to an innocent man and his family, and that you have violated both the Substances of Abuse and Personal Conduct Policies. In that respect, you are clearly guilty of conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the NFL."

The league previously had imposed an indefinite suspension upon Stallworth.

Stallworth met with Goodell last week. After the meeting, Stallworth indicated publicly that he would accept whatever decision Goodell made about length of suspension.

According to the NFL, Goodell met again with Stallworth on Monday at Stallworth's request.

Stallworth is prohibited from participating in any team-related activities during his suspension, the league announced, and is to be reinstated following the Super Bowl in February.

Stallworth said in a written statement: "Commissioner Goodell called me this morning. Obviously, I am disappointed, but, as I said previously, I accept the Commissioner's decision. Regardless of the length of my suspension, I will carry the burden of Mr. Reyes's death for the rest of my life."

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